‘Health professionals against fracking’
Elizabeth Cullen of IDEA, Carroll O’Dolan in NI and Geralyn McCarron
Fracking poses low health risk if operations are well-run, study finds
Shale gas extraction emissions are a ‘low’ risk to public health
The report published today (31 October) reviews the potential health impacts of shale gas extraction.
This review of the scientific literature focusses on the potential impact of chemicals and radioactive material from all stages of shale gas extraction, including the fracturing (fracking) of shale.
As there is no commercial shale gas extraction in the UK, the draft report looks at information from countries where it is taking place.
Comment by an international campaigner:
I have a lot of difficulty with this report by the UK Government’s public health association, not only because the review is quite cursory in certain aspects, for example, when considering air pollution from shale. In the case where emissions are noted the report dismisses then stating it is unlikely the results are applicable to other extraction sites and concludes that air emissions from shale ‘need to be put in context of the existing level of air pollution.’ In the past its lead author has made similar dismissive claims in previous reports eg ‘there is currently no evidence of link between land contamination and cancer’, something that has clearly been shown to be incorrect. The same author and the same organisation also attempted to hose down public concerns about birth defects and cancer resulting from landfill emissions with statements like ‘well-managed’ landfill sites do not pose a significant risk to public health.
I view this report just another attempt to counter valid public concerns over the UK governments push to validate their support for the shale industry and also an attempt to dismiss the growing evidence of human health and environmental problems as experienced in US, and as is also occurring with coal bed methane in Queensland Australia.